Friday, December 18, 2009

Bexley water, sewer & trash bills going up. John Matuszak reports for Bexley Public Radio

Bexley residents will see higher charges for water, sewer and trash collection services come Jan. 1, following votes by city council at its Dec. 15 meeting.

The 8.5 percent increase for water and the 6 percent hike in sewer rates are in response to increases from Columbus, which provides these services to Bexley, Service Director Bill Harvey explained.

Council voted 5-1 to pass along the increases to residents, with Mark Masser absent and Matt Lampke voting no.

Lampke explained that he is not sure that the sewer rate to be charged is enough to make sure the city's aging lines are being replaced at an adequate pace, and he would like to see more long-range planning on these kinds of issues.

Harvey responded that, if council did not pass the ordinance, he would not be able to charge the higher rate, leaving the city in a hole financially.

The Columbus increase is less than what it has been the last several years. Much of the need for rate hikes has come in response to EPA mandates for better treatment of sewage being released into waterways.

The jump in the cost for trash, recycling and yard waste collection resulted from the new, $1 million contract with Rumpke.

Residents age 59 and under will see quarterly bills increase to $73.50, from $60.50. This will put their annual trash bill at $294.

For the first time, residents age 60 to 65 will be eligible for the $18 annual discount offered by Rumpke. Their annual bill will be $246, an increase of $4.

Those 65 and over can receive the Rumpke discount along with the city discount of $50. Their annual bills will go from $$161 to $198.

Seniors do not automatically receive the rate reduction, but must inform the city of their eligibilty.

During the deliberations on the trash rates over the last several weeks, older residents pointed out that they are often on fixed incomes and the cost increase would create an added financial burden. They also noted that seniors usually generate less refuse than a family.

Harvey explained that resients 59 and under are paying more to provide the seniors with a lower rate.The charges to residents have to generate $1.1 million to cover the contract and additional costs.

There will be further adjustments to the rates the next two years, Harvey said, with younger residents probably charged a little less and seniors charged more to equalize the rates.

Rates could also fluctuate due to Rumpke's fuel adjustment surcharge and increases in tipping fees charged by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO).


Council did some last-minute tinkering with its own budget for 2010 before approving the $9.9 million general fund spending plan. A late addition included $5,000 for the Bexley Celebrations Association, which puts on the Fourth of July festivities, Easter egg hunt, Harvest Festival and holiday tree lighting.

BCA President Anne Lewis came to council last week asking for the donation, the first time the organization has requested funding from the city. They are also seeking support from Capital University and other sources.

The city expects to spend $1.7 million more than it takes in for the year.

The 2009 budget was bailed out by estate tax collections of $4.2 million, well over the $1 million estimated.

In addition to the general fund spending, the city plans to spend $5.2 million for capital projects that include street and water and sewer line repairs, and equipment and vehicle replacements.

Harvey told council that $3 million of that figure will allow the city to borrow money to accellerate its street repairs. The money has to be in the budget for the service director to hire contractors.

To get the best price, now is the time to get bids, Harvey said. With all of the federal stimulus moey available, companies are expected to be busy and costs will only rise later in the year, he added.

The boiler at city hall needs to be replaced and wiring for the emergency generator needs to be repaired, Harvey said.

Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation or WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. John Matuszak.

No comments: